27 Animals That Eat Ants – Natural Ant Predators With Pictures

Were you aware that there are approximately 10 quintillion ants on the planet? These insects can be found in a variety of species all over the world (except for Antarctica). They can even be found in your own backyard. With such a large number of ants in the world, it’s only natural that there are animals that thrive on them as a food source. In this article, we will discuss over 27 different types of animals that are known to eat ants.

What Are Some Animals That Eat Ants?

If you are none too happy with the amount of ants running around on your property, there’s good news. There is a copious amount of animals that will eat ants. We’ll take a look at the list of 27 different animals that do just that (and where they are located in the world).

animals that eat ants

Those who feed on ants will have an abundant food supply that will last a lifetime. These ant-munching animals come in all kinds of species, shapes, colors, and beyond. Our list will be broken down based on these different types of animals such as birds, mammals, and reptiles.

Once you’ll see these animals, your appreciation for nature will increase. You’ll be grateful knowing they are feeding off the insects that can be a nuisance in your home. Let’s get right to it.

Mammals That Eat Ants:

Aardvarks

Aardvarks are small and chunky in size. Yet, they have long claws that will help them dig through the ground with ease. For an animal that eats ants, that’s a huge plus.

natural ant predators

An aardvark will find an ant hill and dig deep. Once it creates enough space for their snout, they’ll get right to work. They have a long, sticky tongue that will make it easier for them to eat multiple ants at the same time.

Aardvarks are native to sub-Saharan Africa. An interesting fact about them is that they are distant relatives to the elephant. This is contrary to the popular belief that they may have been related to this next animal we’ll be taking a look at.

Anteaters

Yes, they live up to their name, and they are one of the most popular animals that eat ants! These animals are found in Central and South America. Their noses are long and they have a tongue that is long enough to where they can eat a lot of ants simultaneously.

They will find an ant hill, plant their snouts into the ground, and start eating. One anteater can make quick work of a whole ant hill in minutes. There could be thousands or millions of ants on a single hill and it could be cleared quickly.

If that isn’t an impressive feat for any animal, what is. Next, we’ll be looking at one animal that loves eating whatever it wants. Yes, even ants. 

Black Bears

Forget tipping over trash cans or rummaging through picnic baskets. Black bears can eat a large number of ants including the larvae. Simply put, they eat just about anything they can get their hands on. Although you might not think of black bears when you’re thinking of animals that eat ants, but they are natural ant eaters!

black bears eating ants

A black bear can smell food from 35 miles away. They’ll travel a great distance to find it. When it comes to where they’ll find ants, black bears won’t care about where they find them. They’ll go through beehives to find them if they have to (to be fair, they also like honey too).

They’ll also find ants that are hanging around areas where there are plants or wild fruits is grown. These North American bears are doing more of a service for us. Even though we should steer clear from them, watching them from afar might be fun (especially if they eat ants).

Our next animal is someone you might not expect to eat ants. Needless to say, they don’t have a long enough snout like the previous two animals.

Coyotes

This is another animal you might be surprised to see on the list. Coyotes are not high on the list of natural predators of ants. Normally, coyotes will eat meat (with deer, rodents and birds as their primary food sources).

Coyotes will also eat wild fruits and berries. When push comes to shove, they will eat ants. Especially if there is a shortage of what they normally eat.

Coyotes are found in all parts of the United States and Canada. Coyotes are nocturnal animals, so they’ll move around at night. It may be the perfect time for them to feast. Now,  let’s talk about the next ant-eating animal that may be mistaken for anteaters themselves.

Pangolins

These animals are found in Asia and Africa. They were lesser known until a few years ago. What makes these animals interesting is that they eat not only ants but termites. 

They also have the ability to use their claws and get this – their tails for hunting ants. They will yank off tree barks with their tail while using their claws to dig underground. Because of their snouts (which are shorter than anteaters), they can still eat multiple ants without issue.

Sloth Bears

This bear is a slow mover (hence the ‘sloth’ in their name). Yet, don’t underestimate them. They have long claws that will allow them to dig for ants. They will scoop up a large pile of them and eat them.

do sloth bears eat ants

They are found in Sri Lanka, Nepal, and some parts of India. This final mammal on our list may be a surprise (which is why we saved it for last). Prepare to be slightly shocked by it.

Humans

Yes, humans eat ants. What’s crazier is that 80 percent of the world’s population eats them. That’s because there’s a lot of people that will add certain insects as an ingredient to what they eat. Especially in parts of Mexico and India.

They will typically eat black and weaver ants. You may be a bit surprised or disgusted. But now you know that humans themselves can eat ants.

In total, we have seven mammals that eat ants. While there are different mammals that will eat meat, wild fruits, and other vegetation, they may eat insects either as part of their diet or on a must-survive basis. The next category of animals going forward won’t be much of a surprise.

Birds That Eat Ants:

Antbirds

The name itself comes as no surprise. They eat ants along with termites and other small insects. They are native to Central and South America and come in 200 different types.

do antbirds eat ants

One of their distinct features is their long beaks. They will eat ants in trees or on the ground. They can make quick work of an ant hill (to the point where it can give an anteater a run for its money).

Next, we’ll be looking at a bird that has ‘ant’ in their name. Of course, they’ll eat ants. Yet, they have some differences from antbirds.

Antpittas

Antpittas are found in the Americas (North and South). They have similarities to antbirds, yet they’ll have longer legs and shorter tails. One of the cool features they have is their bright colors.

They are bright enough to where they can blend into their environment. Ants won’t be able to see them. Which makes it perfect for these birds to strike when they are close to an ant hill.

They’ll spot these ants, swoop down, and scoop them off the ground. To antpittas, it’s just another day at the office. The next bird is no stranger to hunting.

They normally feed off of dead animals, but won’t hesitate to eat living ants as well.

Ravens

Ravens will hunt ants in a way that other birds do. They’ll sit around an ant hill and use its wings to wrangle the ants out from underground. Once the ants appear, it’s ‘bon appetit’ for the raven.

Ants themselves will make the mistake of hitching a ride on a raven. Simply put, this winged creature can take his food to go if he wants to. Whether they are on the ground or on themselves, ravens will find ants very satisfying for their appetite.

Our next bird hunts like a raven. Yet, they are smaller in size and we can’t help but love seeing them in our yard.

Robins

Like ravens, robins will use the same hunting tactic as a raven. They’ll force out ants from under the surface. They’ll use their wings to lure the ants out and eat them.

Like clockwork, they’ll feast on multiple ants quickly. They might even bring some back to the nest for their baby birds, if necessary. 

Sparrows  

Sparrows originated from Europe. Yet, they are present mostly in North America. They often eat grains and plants.

do sparrows eat ants

When it comes to ants, sparrows can eat them. They are not like most birds that will position themselves on trees or ant hills. But they will eat ants when a sparrow discovers a large amount of them in one place.

Coming up, we’ll be taking a look at a type of bird that will be found in parts of Asia and Australia. They have an interesting way of feeding themselves (especially when eating ants).

Brahminy Kites

These birds will use their wings and eat the ants. It’s the equivalent of a human eating with their hands. A bit unusual for a bird given the fact that they just peck the ground with their beaks.

Unlike most birds that will eat multiple ants, a Brahminy Kite will eat the ants one by one. They are active ant hunters. If you see these birds looking like they’re caring for their wings, it may be lunch time for them.

Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers are like Brahminy Kites. They eat ants individually and actively hunt for them. They’ll sit in a tree and use their wings to lure the ants out. 

do woodpeckers eat ants

Then, they’ll use their wings to put the ants in their mouth. When they’re in the trees, they’ll search for food. You’ll hear that distinct pecking sound they are known for.

So there are plenty of feeding opportunities for a woodpecker. They won’t have to go too far to find an ant. 

Flickers

Flickers are closely related to woodpeckers. But unlike their relatives, they will set themselves up on ant hills and wait for those tiny insects to arrive. When those ants approach the hill, a flicker will eat them like clockwork.

They’ll also dig them from underneath the hill with the help of their long beaks. They don’t have to play the waiting game at all. They can dig, eat, and fly out.

These birds reside in North and South America. Like other birds, they are active hunters and won’t waste time eating as many ants and other insects as possible.

With that said, that brings us to eight birds. Thus far, that brings the count to 15 different animals. Yet, we have a bit of a way to go.

The next group of species will be smaller. Yet, they are no stranger to feeding on all kinds of insects including ants.

Amphibians and Reptiles

Blind Snakes

Blind snakes are found all over the world. They are small in size to the point where they are coin-sized when coiled. They are found underground and will use their sense of smell to track down ants.

They’ll feed off ants and their eggs. All it takes is for a blind snake to find a trail with its hypersensitive smell and follow it to any colony where it can eat ants and a whole nest of eggs to its satisfaction.

Horned Lizards

These are also known as horned toads. Yet, they are nothing like them. Nevertheless, they are pretty cool to look at in terms of aesthetics.

do horned lizards eat ants

Horned lizards are located in North and Central America. Their horned look is thanks to the large sized scales on their heads and backs. They have long sticky tongues that will capture a large number of ants in one lick.

Narrow-Mouthed Toads

These toads are located in North America, but they are also present in Asia and Africa. There are more than 200 different species of these toads throughout the world. They have thin mouths that will be great for their ant-eating habits.

They have long tongues that will allow them to eat multiple ants at once. If you see this in action, you’ll be quite fascinated.

Poison Dart Frogs

These frogs are located in Central and South America. They also produce the alkaloids that are toxic (which makes them poisonous). Guess how they are able to create that in their body?

If you guessed their diet, you are correct. That insect-rich diet consists of a large number of ants. The more they eat, the more toxins they are able to produce.

Most poison dart frogs won’t be harmful to humans. However, the golden poison dart frog may be enough to kill multiple people due to their toxins alone. Not the kind of frog you want to chase or catch in your hands.

With this group wrapped up, this brings us now up to 19 animals in total so far. But we have one more group of animals to go over. This will have a surprise at the end of the list (so keep reading).

Spiders and Insects That Eat Ants:

Antlions

These are insects that will eat ants and other related bugs. How they catch them is quite interesting. An antlion will construct a pit with the help of loose soil patches.

Once finished, the antlion will wait in the pit for ants to fall in. There are plenty of insects and spiders that will find a way to trap their food. Yet, the antlion’s pit building abilities might be one of the most intriguing ways yet.

Assassin Bugs

These bugs live up to their name. They’ll kill and eat a lot of insects including ants. In fact, they tend to favor ants.

They have long mouths that will inject venom into the ants. They’ll even use dead ants as their cover in order to avoid detection. Assassin bugs are sneaky and do an excellent job at catching their prey.

Flies

Flies will eat ants. Especially the larvae. Most female flies will lay their eggs on ants.

When the eggs hatch, the larvae will feed off of the ant’s brain or the body. Flies may seem like an annoyance to us when they fly around. Yet, when it comes to eating ants, it doesn’t matter if they are larvae or adults, they’ll enjoy them.

Caterpillars

Caterpillars appear harmless because of their fuzzy appearance. But did you ever think they’d be a predator for ants? Now you know.

They will eat ants, especially if they are on plants that are part of a caterpillar’s diet. If a caterpillar eats an ant, it’s an example of the latter being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Snails

Snails don’t always eat ants. But if they do, it’s because of the foam mucus they leave behind. While that mucus repels ants, a snail will waste no time eating them if they are attacked.

For the most part, snails eat vegetation. Like the caterpillar, a snail can eat an ant that happens to be on the plants that they’re munching on.

Wolf Spiders

These spiders hunt at night – the same way wolves do. This kind of spider will track down ants and jump on them. Once they do, they’ll inject venom into the ant, eat them, and repeat the process.

do wolf spiders eat ants

Wolf spiders will eat other insects including ticks. While spiders may look scary to most, they are truly one of nature’s blessings in disguise. It won’t be a good idea to threaten them when they seem to be doing a good service to us (such as natural pest control).

Jumping Spiders

This is an active hunter that will track down ants and other insects. Like wolf spiders, they will hunt at night. They’ll stalk an ant and attach a dragline to them.

Unlike most spiders, this one doesn’t use webs to trap their prey. They will jump on an ant and inject enough venom to render them motionless. Then they eat the ant and continue their hunt.

Ants

That’s not a typo. You’re reading this correctly. There are ants that will eat different species of ants.

One specific type are raider ants. They will invade nests and steal eggs and other food. They will take the stolen eggs back to their own colony and feed them to the pregnant ants. 

Raider ants will be able to steal enough food from one colony that will last one or more life cycles. Imagine raiding the food supplies of rival ants and being able to feed yourself and the rest of your colony for life. 

But we’re not done yet. Fire ants can also have the ability to attack and eat their own. It’s also common for most ants to eat their own dead, or even sleeping ants.

And that wraps up the list with a grand total of 27 different animals that feed off of ants. Did you ever think that ants themselves would eat one of their own? Proof that in the animal kingdom, you won’t put it past most animals to eat their own if it came down to survival.

FAQs

Will Anteaters Eat Fire Ants?

Yes. Anteaters will eat just about any type of ant including fire ants. Since these types of ants are harmful, some have relied on anteaters for the purpose of controlling the population.

Is It Safe For Humans To Eat Ants?

While we mentioned humans earlier, it is safe to eat various ants. However, the poisonous types shouldn’t be eaten. It may be a good idea to ask an expert on ants before consuming them yourself.

Can You Die From Eating Poisonous Ants?

If you suffer from a serious allergic reaction, it can be fatal. This can be due to stings that can occur inside your mouth or esophagus. Otherwise, the poison may not be as effective once it reaches your digestive tract. 

Final Thoughts On Natural Predators Of Ants

Nature is certainly wild. Plus, with an eye-popping number of ants that exist around the world, it’s an endless food supply for these 27 different animals. Many include it as a staple in their diet.

Others eat them in a must-do situation for survival. Either way, there is no danger that ants will go extinct any time soon. They might be a nuisance to have around – but leave it to these animals to control the population. I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on animals that eat ants!

Other Ant Guides:

Resources:

https://extension.umn.edu/insects-infest-homes/ants

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